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2015 NHL Draft
Posted On Wednesday, 06.12.2013 / 11:24 AM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Stanley Cup Final series blog

Marchand, Shaw appear to be mirror-image pests

CHICAGO -- While Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final remains a few hours away Wednesday (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, RDS), it's never too early for the Boston Bruins' Brad Marchand and the Chicago Blackhawks' Andrew Shaw to begin waging a personal war of words.

During media day here at United Center on Tuesday, the agitators and big fan favorites couldn't resist the opportunity to speak about the other when the questions came fast and furious.

"We're both agitators," Shaw said. "We both play physical and we're always chirping. He's perfected it, and that's what I'm trying to do to my game. We both walk a fine line, and I've always looked up to him and admired him. It's going to be great to actually play against him once."

Posted On Tuesday, 06.11.2013 / 9:55 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Stanley Cup Final series blog

Comeback started Bruins on path to Final

CHICAGO -- The Boston Bruins have been all but unbeatable since their monumental comeback against the Toronto Maple Leafs in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals.

Boston won eight of nine games in the conference semifinals and finals, moving them into the Stanley Cup Final against the Chicago Blackhawks. Game 1 is scheduled for Wednesday at United Center (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, RDS).

There's no question that if Boston regains the Cup it won in 2011 that the 5-4 overtime victory against the Maple Leafs at TD Garden on May 13 will go down as the turning point of its season. The Bruins were just over 10 minutes away from losing a series they led 3-1 -- they lost Games 5 and 6, then fell behind by three goals in Game 7.

"When we got down to Toronto 4-1 in the third period, no one talked about it but knew that if we lost that game, no one would know who's coming back [on the roster]," Bruins forward Tyler Seguin said during media day at United Center on Tuesday. "We didn't know if we'd stick together one more year. But the boys dug down deep and won that game, and we've been a great hockey team ever since."

Posted On Tuesday, 06.11.2013 / 6:45 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Stanley Cup Final series blog

Blackhawks' Keith grateful to be back in Final

CHICAGO -- Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith has heard the stories and has even spoken to legendary Hall of Fame member Bobby Hull about the unfortunate set of circumstances.

Bottom line is, the world-class blueliner knows opportunities like this don't happen very often.

Hull recently told Keith that after winning the Stanley Cup with the Blackhawks in 1961, he expected many more to follow, but that wouldn't happen over his next 11 seasons in Chicago. It's a conversation Keith remembers well. In fact, the Blackhawks wouldn't hoist the Cup again until 2010.

"I've heard that story and talked to Bobby Hull quite a bit about how they thought they would win several but never ended up getting back again and winning another," Keith said. "I take a lot of pride in being here and I'm excited about the opportunity. I'm going to try to make the most of it."

Posted On Tuesday, 06.04.2013 / 11:33 AM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2013 NHL Draft blog

Anthony Brodeur looking forward to hometown draft

Anthony Brodeur knows there's no guarantee he'll be chosen at the 2013 NHL Draft at Prudential Center in Newark, N.J., on June 30.

It would be a surreal moment for Brodeur to hear his name announced in the state where his dad, New Jersey Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur, has become a legend. Anthony Brodeur, who turns 18 on June 8, just completed his senior season at Shattuck-St. Mary's Prep in Faribault, Minn., and is eligible for the draft for the first time.

Anthony Brodeur

He went 21-5-2 with a 2.48 goals-against average, .923 save percentage and team-leading five shutouts in 28 games this season. He also was credited with four assists.

Anthony Brodeur was asked if he feels there's any similarity between him and his 41-year-old father, who was chossen in the first round (No. 20) of the 1990 draft by the Devils.

"I think we have the same style," Brodeur told NHL.com. "I look a lot like him when I am in net, but I might play a little more butterfly than he does. I think the most common thing for me is how we're both pretty composed in net. I've worked on that a lot lately and it has helped my game a ton.

"I am starting to work on playing the puck more and more and hope to one day be as good as he is with that."

Posted On Saturday, 06.01.2013 / 3:07 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Combing the 2013 NHL Combine

Ristolainen, Saros debate who was in charge of room

TORONTO -- There seemed to be a difference in opinion between Finnish countrymen Rasmus Ristolainen of TPS and Juuse Saros of HPK after their stay at the Westin Bristol Place during the 2013 NHL Scouting Combine this week.

Ristolainen, No. 4 in NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of the top draft-eligible European players, informed the media Saturday following Day 2 of fitness testing that his roommate for the week was Saros.

Ristolainen, who is regarded as one of the more physical defenders among all the European players eligible for the 2013 NHL Draft, seemed sure about one thing too.

"I think I'm the boss in our room," Ristolainen (6-foot-4, 207 pounds) said. "I'm bigger and older. He's just a junior."

Posted On Friday, 05.31.2013 / 4:22 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Combing the 2013 NHL Combine

MacKinnon 'would love to play for' Roy, Avalanche

TORONTO -- Halifax Mooseheads center Nathan MacKinnon finally can take a deep breath -- at least for 24 hours.

There's no telling what's next for the 17-year-old, who undoubtedly will be traveling to meet with several NHL teams for personal examinations and interviews now that his part in the 2013 NHL Scouting Combine is complete.

"I don't know if I'm living the dream yet because I'm not in the NHL, but [this week has] been fun," MacKinnon said. "It's been busy for sure. I've had a lot of requests and demands, but obviously I wouldn't trade it for anything. I had a lot of fun this year, and this was just another step toward the draft."

MacKinnon said he would be honored if the Colorado Avalanche selected him No. 1 at the 2013 NHL Draft on June 30. He said playing for new Colorado coach Patrick Roy, who was hired last week, would be a good experience.

Posted On Friday, 05.31.2013 / 2:37 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Combing the 2013 NHL Combine

Nurse will have cheering section at draft, with McNabb

TORONTO -- Sault Ste. Marie defenseman Darnell Nurse anticipates a large family contingent to join him at Prudential Center on June 30 for the NHL Draft.

Nurse, No. 4 on NHL Central Scouting final list of the top draft-eligible North American skaters, is expected to be chosen among the top 10 players. He told NHL.com that one of his biggest supporters is his uncle Donovan McNabb, who spent 13 seasons as a quarterback in the NFL, including 11 with the Philadelphia Eagles, and is Darnell's uncle by marriage.

"The draft will be a whole family affair, with my aunts and uncles, cousins and my parents," Nurse said at the NHL Scouting Combine. "And Uncle Donovan will be there and he can't wait. He's excited for it too."

Posted On Friday, 05.31.2013 / 10:39 AM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Combing the 2013 NHL Combine

Top prospects begin infamous bike testing

TORONTO -- Is there any doubt that the words "bike test" are enough to make any top draft-eligible prospect uneasy in the week leading up to the fitness portion of the NHL Scouting Combine?

It's a frozen moment in time for any blue-chip athlete looking to make an impression on NHL scouts and general managers. The heart starts beating faster the moment those technicians duct tape both feet to the pedals in preparation for those two infamous tests: the Wingate Cycle Ergometer and VO2 Max.

Those familiar with the VO2 Max, which measures the endurance capability of a player's heart, lungs and muscles, knows it happens to be the most grueling of all the endurance tests conducted by York University for the benefit of the 30 NHL teams.

The Wingate peak power output test measures the explosiveness of a skater and could provide critical information in learning how quickly a player might be able to begin a transition up ice.

Last year, one player lasted at least 14 minutes on the VO2: Swedish defenseman Hampus Lindholm, who was drafted No. 6 by the Anaheim Ducks.

NHL Central Scouting's No. 1-rated North American skater in 2012, Nail Yakupov of the Ontario Hockey League's Sarnia Sting, lasted 12:25 on the VO2.

Defenseman Mathew Dumba, drafted No. 7 by the Minnesota Wild, lasted 11 minutes.

"That's a killer, you come right off the Wingate and guys are throwing up in the back and your legs are just shot and you've got another one [VO2] to go," Dumba said. "It's pretty hard to bear down and it really challenges you."

Posted On Thursday, 05.30.2013 / 8:16 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Combing the 2013 NHL Combine

Jones, MacKinnon, Drouin might skip fitness test

TORONTO -- It's possible the long grind of the junior hockey season, including the Memorial Cup tournament that ended four days ago, will keep top 2013 NHL Draft prospects Seth Jones of the Portland Winterhawks and Nathan MacKinnon and Jonathan Drouin of the Halifax Mooseheads from participating in the fitness testing at the NHL Scouting Combine.

The trio is 1, 2, 3 in NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of North American skaters for this year's draft.

The agent for Jones and MacKinnon, Pat Brisson, told NHL.com his clients will undergo medical exams Friday as scheduled, but a decision on whether they would participate in the 13 individual tests designed to evaluate strength and fitness would be made afterward.

"In my opinion, you need about a week or two to get ready for some of those tests, and we have to respect what they've gone through here lately," Brisson said. "They're in game shape, but you have to treat them like Ferraris in a sense that now these athletes have to prepare for these things. Not that they can't do it, but we'll undergo the medical exam and take it from there."

Posted On Thursday, 05.30.2013 / 2:57 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Combing the 2013 NHL Combine

NHL-caliber shot makes Pulock one to watch

TORONTO -- Simply put, defenseman Ryan Pulock of the Brandon Wheat Kings is a warrior.

Despite missing considerable time in 2012-13 with a fractured orbital bone then a broken wrist, he impressed the scouts enough to earn the No. 12 ranking on NHL Central Scouting's final list of the top 2013 NHL Draft-eligible North American skaters.

"He does everything well," Central Scouting's Peter Sullivan told NHL.com. "He's got the hardest shot I've seen in years. He's so smart. The thing that's even more impressive is I've seen him take seven or eight super hits -- body checks and hip checks -- laying guys into the boards. He's got all the tools to be a top pick."

Sullivan went as far as to say Pulock has an NHL-caliber shot right now.

"He's got one of the hardest shots not only in the Western Hockey League, but would have one of the hardest in the NHL," Sullivan said. "Don't laugh … it's that good."

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Quote of the Day

Hopefully [Jonathan] has a year that pushes us, that is the organization, to speak to him next summer and looking for [a long-term contract]. Because the thought process is trying to get a goaltender, and hopefully it's Jonathan, to be the stabilizer for this franchise.

— Maple Leafs GM Lou Lamoriello on goaltender Jonathan Bernier